12 Feb

NAU Extended Campuses

A great alternative for people who want to save a few dollars on their 4-year degree but still want to gain a quality education from a premier university. The Extended Campuses of Northern Arizona University (NAU) makes a high-quality college education more accessible and affordable for people everywhere through its network of statewide campuses, lower tuition, and innovative online degree and class option. They have in-person classes available in Yuma, Phoenix, Tucson Arizona, and online classes available too. Learn more here.

20 Jan

WordPress Meta Query Slow – WP_Query

I recently had a quite simple meta_query produce really slow response times – 9 seconds to return 2 rows! The meta_query was simple:

[meta_query= array(array(key => 'mykey'
                            [value] => array(3956)
                            [compare] => IN
                        )
)

Resulted in a query such as

SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS wp_posts.ID
FROM wp_posts
INNER JOIN wp_postmeta ON ( wp_posts.ID = wp_postmeta.post_id )
INNER JOIN wp_postmeta AS mt1 ON ( wp_posts.ID = mt1.post_id )
WHERE 1=1
AND wp_posts.post_type = 'myposttype'
AND ((wp_posts.post_status = 'publish'))
AND ( wp_postmeta.meta_key = 'anotherkey'
AND ( ( mt1.meta_key = 'mykey' AND CAST(mt1.meta_value AS CHAR) IN ('3956')))
)
GROUP BY wp_posts.ID
ORDER BY wp_postmeta.meta_value+0 ASC
LIMIT 0, 32

The problem came to light looking at the query plan – the table wp_postmeta was using key meta_key and returning 292058 rows with information:
Using index condition; Using where; Using temporary; Using filesort

Removing that cast changed the query to use the same table, key, and query plan, but to only return 257 rows.… Read the rest

20 Oct

Open Innovation

The internet has opened the possibility of involving outside agents, such as consumers, to provide ideas for products for a company. Prior to the internet, consumers did not have a direct link to the decision makers in an organization. With the opening of the internet channel, consumers not only can, but want to, interact with a brand.

That interaction can take the form of:

  • Feedback – both positive and negative. Such as too much tomato sauce on a pizza, a picture of which is posted to Domino’s Facebook. Domino’s replied and apologized and gave a free pizza in return.
  • Requesting Features and Improvements – people using your product know exactly what it can and can’t do in a real life situation and what real-life issues they encounter, such as twisting cords on hairdryers (why don’t they fix that one?)
  • New Product Ideas – while using your products consumers might have product ideas, such as brand extensions with flavoring in cough medicine, or even totally new products.
Read the rest
21 Aug

Examples of Abandoned Cart Emails

Part (all) of a search marketers job is to increase sales. To that end implementing an abandoned cart system allows you to double back to someone who almost bought and try once again to convert them. Once an abandoned cart system is in place you should work on optimizing for conversions, after all higher conversion rates mean more sales which makes everyone happy.

To this end I found this blog post 37 Examples of Abandoned Shopping Cart Emails which has the text of 37 different abandoned cart emails sent out by various companies on the web. Not only did I find the text interesting but the fact that Zappos has two text messages shows they are split testing their abandoned cart emails.… Read the rest

09 Aug

Google Tells You About Manual Penalties

Finally, after years of asking for it, Google now let site owners know about manually applied penalties.This information is easily available now through the Google Webmaster Tools site at http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools under ‘Search Traffic->Manual Actions’.  Apparently 2% of sites have a manual action against them.

For background Google has two types of penalties, algorithmic penalties are in their ranking algorithm and are automatically applied and removed as necessary – this includes the Panda and Penguin updates along with a whole host of other penalties. Manual penalties are applied by someone in Google after they have reviewed your site, and can only be removed by someone at Google.… Read the rest

19 Jul

The Future of SEO?

The latest Google update has come and gone. That must mean that it is time to start debating the future of SEO — or rather, what new thing is going to mean the death of SEO this year. Anyone who has been in the industry for more than a year can recall the cyclical arguments of how SEO is dying and in the process of being replaced by something else. What that something else is changes from directories to portals to mobile to social media to some other factor.

For those out of the loop, SEO stands for search engine optimization.… Read the rest

06 Jul

Penguin 4 – What to Expect

penguinWhile there is confusion about whether the upcoming update to Penguin is 4 or 2.0, there is no doubt that a major update is around the corner.  Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, announced that it was coming back in March and, if rumors are to believed, it is still on schedule to go live any day.

Penguin 1 rolled out on April 24, 2012 and affected 3.1% of search queries. By any measure this had a significant impact on various websites and specific industries.  Cutts has gone on record saying that this update to Penguin (which they refer to internally as Penguin 2.0 but the SEO community counts as Penguin 4) will be “more comprehensive and go deeper” than the original Penguin.… Read the rest